The main level bedroom is a great feature

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Computers – Bleck! – Carolyn

Continued computer saga: This afternoon while I was hunting for a Zumba workout on YouTube, I underwent the ultimate terror in computerland. My screen went white and nothing worked. I have been saying that I need a new computer—mine is seven years old—but I hate not only spending the money, but also going through setting up and working with a new computer. You all know what that’s like. Nothing works with anything else.

I have an automatic backup, although I’ve never had to use it and have no idea how it works. Granted, that’s stupid, but I am a technological Luddite. I spent the next thirty minutes scrambling to get the computer up and running, or at least it to the point where I could shut it down and restart it. I did get it to where I could hear the audio, but not see anything on the screen. Nor turn down the audio, which was just under deafening range. I suspect the CIA is missing a bet—a million decibel Zumba class would wear down the canniest spy in nothing flat.

Finally I decided simply to walk away and let it have its hissy fit in private. I did manage to turn down the audio so that I wouldn’t hear Zumba music reverberating through my house. The cats would not have been amused otherwise.

When I came back I did precisely the same things I had done before to no effect. Wonder of wonders, everything worked perfectly. I am now terrified that it will happen again without warning. It’s like having a car that suddenly stops for no reason. I never quite trust it again. I have a friend who will turn in a perfectly good and nearly new car that stops on her over that very trust issue. I can’t afford that kind of gesture, but I understand it.

There are floods and wind damage all over my area, although we have been spared so far. My pastures are overrun with ranunculus (little yellow flowers) that I loathe. The horses don’t like them either, which is a good thing, since they are mildly poisonous. On the other hand, I do have azaleas and roses that are actually blooming in spite of me. Or maybe because other than using an automatic timer to water them I leave them totally alone. They are safer that way.

My tractor needs its battery charged, as does my truck. My horse trailer needs its tires replaced because of dry rot. Papers cover every flat surface in my house. I haven’t put my laundry away for over a week. I’m scrabbling around in the baskets of clean laundry when hanging stuff up would probably take me an hour tops.

But one short story is finished, I have edited the Malice short stories that I have been sent and the book grows apace. Can’t ask for better than that. Ain’t sweatin’ the small stuff. Except for the welfare of the animals, it’s all small stuff.



New cover choices! You pick!!

Here’s something fun for your Friday: help me decide which font for my new cover. Do you like 1) or 3)? (Number 2, which was my hubby’s fave, was already eliminated by Jane Porter’s readers.) ;-)



This cover is for my July release, which I’m hard at work on. Leading up to that release, however, my Love at the Chocolate Shop colleagues have two yummy books for you to devour.

Newly released yesterday is THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH by Melissa McClone. (Click on image to buy from your favorite vendor.)

the chocolate touch cover

 Chocolate expert Chantelle Cummings arrives in Marietta, Montana with two goals—sign copies of her new book and research a quaint local chocolate shop. When she meets former Air Force captain York Parker passing out chocolate samples, her visit turns sweeter than she ever imagined.

Or you can preorder June’s SWEET HOME COWBOY from Marin Thomas. (click on cover)

Sweet Home Cowboy cover

 When Marietta newcomer Elena Puente is coerced into attending a speed-dating event at the popular Copper Mountain Chocolate shop, she’s blindsided by a serious attraction to local cowboy, Wesley Banks.


Happy reading, my friends! And, please, your input would be so appreciated. Which cover grabs you? 1 or 3?



computers – love, hate – Carolyn

My computer is seven years old (I think). Which means that in computer terms it is at least as old as I am. And like those of us the young Brits call ‘wrinklies,’ is crochety, slow, and sometimes loses its mind. I know I should go buy another one, but the thought of going through the initial three months or so it takes to get back to where I am now, problems and all, is daunting. Everyone I know feels the same way. A new computer should be a joyful thing. Faster, smarter, able to do more things more intelligently, able to foresee and head off the stupid user tricks that we all come up with.

Not so. First of all, probably none of the programs which currently run on my computer will work on a new one. When I try to bring them up, I will get some kind of horse manure about their ‘no longer being supported.’ Well, why not? A new computer should add on new programs to the old faithfuls, not screw them up. Given my druthers, I would still like to be able to use Pagemaker and Freehand and at least a dozen others I can think of. I have wonderful old Filemaker folders I can’t open any longer. Everything becomes more complex.

I do have sense enough to take my present (old) computer down to the Apple store, hand it over to them and tell them to transfer everything over to my new computer, whatever it is, and to tell me explicitly what I need that doesn’t come with it any longer. Like a video/cd player. What’s that all about? I have operas on video I like to run while I work. I also have three printers hooked up. What are the odds that they and a new computer will find one another properly? Probably not much better than the odds of winning the lottery.

And the internet? Will it work properly? Probably not. It never has on any computer transfer I’ve ever made.

My dear computer savvy son-in-law (call his name blessed) worked on my old baby for a couple of hours last week, got rid of all sorts of malware and hidden stuff that I didn’t know was there. He did speed up the computer significantly. For a little while. It is getting creepy again, however,

Computer makers should realize that most of us qualify as end-users. I, for one, may qualify as an idiot, but not, heaven knows, an Idiot Savant. I don’t savant much of anything computery. We don’t hack or intrude or try to do weird stuff. I write fiction and pay my bills mostly. I seldom write letters. Tacky, I know, but most of us text. Which means that future generations will not have the benefit of correspondence by the greats. How much Sam Johnson would Boswell have lost to Twitter?

And what, for heaven’s sake, is this ‘dark web’ that all the television shows are talking about? And how do you access it? I was under the impression that the web is the web. Now I discover that it has an evil twin. Who knew?


Changes (Pat)

I lost my beloved Katy this week.   She was my thirteen year old Aussie who, with her sister, I adopted from a rescue group when they were nine months old.

Katy  was a gentle soul who happily greeted everyone on walks and wanted nothing more than to have a home.   Whereas her sister, Allie, would  run off  to try to find other beings to herd, Katy wanted only to stay at my side.

She’s had a hard couple of years.   She had operations on both her rear legs, then had arthritis and Cushings disease which eventually won out.  But her tail never stopped wagging.

After losing her, I did what I’ve done before.   A hole in my heart needed filling.   I went to a dog adoption hosted by a rescue group and found a small elderly dog in dire need of a home.  She’s still in the shy stage, not quite sure what is going on after being shuttled from foster home to foster home, but she’s now following me everywhere and making herself at home.   She’s just leaning how to go for a walk.

Her name is Anna.   I think Katy would approve, having followed another one of my dogs.

She joins Little Guy, an elderly poodle I adopted after Katy’s sister died.    Little Guy is a true joy and he seems just fine with the newcomer.  Older dogs, I’ve discovered, are very hard for rescue groups to adopt out.      Little Guy, for instance, was up for adoption for eight months, and he is such a happy, joyous little fellow now.

Dogs — and some times other animals, including a pig in one of my westerns –often play major roles in my books.   There give so much and want only a bit of care and love in return.   How could my heroes and heroines turn away from them.

You can never replace such a good companion.  I’ll never forget Katy or Allie.  I just feel my heart is getting a little larger with every addition. ColorPat


A good deal more…

Have I told you about The Inheritance collection?

I heard about this project at a NINC conference. (Novelists, Incorporated is a professional group I’ve belonged to for a number of years.) We were in Florida, and several friends were discussing creative ways to get new work into the hands of new readers. I listened wistfully since I’d already committed to writing a new series for Tule Publishing at the time.

Then, about a year later, one of those friends invited me to join the group. A good number of the books in the series had already been released, but mine would come out as lucky number 13. (It’s possible they miscounted and thought I was number 12. ;-) )

The concept was so fun and intriguing. A wealthy humanitarian with a bit of wanderlust travels around interacting with normal Joes and Josephines. Occasionally, someone would do something that impressed him and he’d add his or her name to his bequeathal list. Not all the gifts were money. In my heroine’s case, the gift came to her through her late mother’s estate. It was a complete surprise, but it allowed her to buy a neighboring piece of property that accidentally came up at auction for nonpayment of back taxes. An oversight the owner quickly regretted.

This gift sets in motion a chain of events that brings two mismatched lovers together, as well as opens the door to a thirty-year-old mystery–one someone might go to any lengths to keep under wraps.

One of the many interesting marketing ideas this creative group came up with was the Inherit the Charms contest. Each month’s new release author would share three possible charms that held some connection to their book.


Mine were these:

Debra charms. jpeg

Why those three?

#1- The Eiffel Tower

Robyn Craine’s late mother, MaryBeth, had her sights set on seeing the world before she died. A busy nurse and single mom, she pinched pennies to be able to take her young daughter to Europe every other summer and to famous tourist destinations in North America on the off years. Robyn treasures the memories her mother created, but Robyn’s worldview is a lot smaller: the Black Hills of South Dakota. She loves her home and the business she plans to grow using the inheritance her mother left when she passed away a year ago—the gift from a generous patient MaryBeth helped. To celebrate her mother’s love of travel, Robyn wears a charm of the Eiffel tower—one of her favorite memories.

#2  –  Motorcycle charm

Robyn is very much her own person. She loves math, balancing the books at the Mystery Spot, and then jumping on her motorcycle to cruise around the Black Hills. And because she rides, Robyn’s friend, Jenna, introduces her to Sentinel Passtime TV heartthrob, Liam Temple, who roars into her life on a Harley. Robyn does what any red-blooded Black Hills girl would do, she hops on her bike and takes him for the ride of his life.

#3 – The Chapel in the Hills

As Liam’s and Robin’s relationship heats up, they find themselves at a difficult crossroads. Liam’s family crisis and career are pulling him back to Los Angeles. Robin, who has never had any reason to trust the word of a man, can’t turn her back on her business obligations, her friends and her dreams on the “possibility” Liam is the love her life. She seeks answers at her mother’s favorite spot: the Chapel in the Hills-an exact replica of a famous Norwegian stave church.  When Liam shows up, the answer to her dilemma is all too clear.

As you can see, the winning choice of my three was the Eiffel Tower. And the winner of this one-of-a-kind prize was named this week. Congratulation, Giselle P.

Inheritance charm bracelet

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Have a great weekend. My newsletter is going out on Sunday and will include some other great buys in my READ4LESS segment. You can sign up here: newsletter.




Bear sighting – Carolyn

The local newspaper has reported for the last several days that there is a black bear in Frayser, a subdivision of Memphis. This is about the same as meeting an aardvark in Central Park—and I’m not talking the zoo. The local wildlife people are telling everyone that if they spot it, they should leave it the heck alone. Apparently it is a young bear, probably male because there are no cubs with it. They say it’s traveling west, which is fine except that the Mississippi River is west. If it is trying to get across to the Ozarks, it’s going to be highly annoyed to discover this impassable (for a bear) body of water between it and where it plans to go. I just hope that wherever it goes, it gets there safely without some idiot’s shooting it.

I know for a fact that we have what the farmers call ‘painters’ here. That is the southern designation for a panther—puma, cougar. My horse trainer had one cross the road in front of her several years ago, and another was noted in the edges of Collierville, the town my farm is closest to. I live close to the Wolf River and its bottoms, a wildlife (and I do mean wild) wetland area just down the hill from me. I have friends who kayak and canoe down there regularly. Even if I kayaked—which I do not—I wouldn’t do it on that stretch of the Wolf. I have been told the water moccasins hang in the branches of trees and have been known to drop into the boats that go under the limbs they are stretched on. I don’t swim all that well any longer, but I would decant myself right out of the kayak and into the river the same instant the snake decided to join me in the boat.

This morning while I was out in the barn feeding the horses, I looked back to the house to see a very large hare sitting outside my bedroom door watching me. I froze. He froze. We regarded one another silently for some time until he lollopped off. He was not in the last disturbed by my presence. Although I was surprised he was so close to the house, I wasn’t bothered by him. When we first moved out here, we had lots of rabbits and lots of quail. That was before the coyotes moved in. The coyotes do not bother the horses. They have better sense. The horses do not like them and will go to great lengths to kick, bite and stomp them. The coyotes make certain they never get the chance.

Now we have an owl. Full grown screech variety. He’s very large. Since he’s nocturnal I seldom see him, but I hear him all right. We have several red tail and Cooper’s hawks that sit on the telephone wires watching for mice, and several more turkey buzzards who sit in a dead tree and clean up any road kill down on the road. Thank heaven for them. Pretty they are not. Effective they are.

I hope that they figure we can coexist, but they probably think I am an interloper in their territory, and a scary one at that. Isn’t that a pity?



Happy Earth Day!

We watched HIDDEN FIGURES last night and seeing the Earth through John Glenn’s tiny window was so beautiful and moving. No matter what the politicians say, we have to take of our home–it’s the only one we’ve got.


I’m a day late posting this blog because, believe it or not, my brand new Internet service wasn’t set up until 6 PM last evening. By then, I was a basket case and in need of adult beverages. ;-) And I’m glad I waited because once I waded through my million or so emails, I discovered this GREAT DEAL from KOBO.

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Happy Horns – Carolyn

Happy Easter!

Well, I have finally done it. Somehow I managed to copy over my blog with something completely different.

Bound to happen sooner or later. Since I’ve been working on three stories and one novel at once and planning for two more books, my confusion level obviously reached critical mass. So I am reconstructing. As is general in such a case, this version will probably make more sense than the first offering. Let’s hope so, at any rate.

I go to a smallish church that is pretty casual as a general rule. But on Easter we bring in what I call The Holy Horns to supplement our extraordinary organist. There are two trumpets, one French Horn (known as ‘the ill wind that nobody blows good.’), a tuba, and a trombone. Combined, they can blow the roof off the church. At our Mardi Gras Party they spent the evening playing Zydeco and New Orleans jazz. Talk about making a joyful noise!

I love horns anyway—like The Canadian Brass and several other totally brass ensembles. When my first husband (a bass-baritone) was in the Army chorus, I heard the army herald trumpets frequently. Combined with five or six howitzers blowing off blanks, they make Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture more visceral than intellectual. At the end, there’s a great ‘Take That, Napoleon!’ moment.

Along the same line, I listened to the Metropolitan Opera’s latest production of Aida yesterday. During the intermission, several of the horn players from the Met Orchestra were interviewed about actually being in make-up and costume and playing on stage during Rhadames’s triumphal entry. They are split into two groups, one on each side of the stage, on platforms high over where the parade is going on. Not only are they up there in full view of the audience; they are on a platform that has no guardrail! One wrong step, and they wind up in the middle of the camels. I don’t know whether they still use camels in the scene, but they used to. I saw one production in which the camels—who do not sound like sopranos—joined in at the top of their lungs.

I couldn’t do it. I am terrified of heights. When I stand on top of a mountain—a position I try to avoid if at all possible—I can hear the void calling to me. At the falls in Yellowstone Park, I strode right out into the largish viewing platform, took one look at the gorge and dropped to my hands and knees. In public. Surrounded by other tourists. I had to duck walk to get to a tree I could hold onto. My family acted as though I had no connection with them. I can manage one of those two-step kitchen ladders, but only if I can hang on to something. Makes changing light bulbs problematic. I generally get my long-suffering son-in-law to do it.

Anyway, I have had my horn fix for the day. Now let’s hope I didn’t overwrite something else important.